On Losing at Yarn Chicken, Frogging, and the Benefits of Lifelines

I lost my game of yarn chicken.  Have you ever played this game before? You know the fun game where you continue knitting, unsure if you have enough yarn to actually complete what you’re intending to. Well, I played and lost.

The pattern was Braidsmaid by Martina Behm, and the aforementioned yarn was my hand-dyed DK weight cashmere and merino.  This lovely pattern is knit as one but contains several sections. After some dodgy math on my part and consultation with a friend, I opted to add an additional 16 rows of section 2 before moving onto section 3.  I’ll have enough yarn, I smugly thought to myself.  Foolish, but not entirely, for I had enough sense to thread a lifeline before knitting those fateful 16 rows.

Lifelines are fantastic and as their name suggests, they are a lovely re-assurance. They are AMAZING when you’re making a complicated lace pattern, because heaven forbid you have to rip back and try to pick up yarn overs and k2togs. They are dead simple to do too, simply thread waste yarn through your live stitches on your needle, and once it’s thread through all stitches, knit as normal.  Your lifeline will stay put, holding your stitches and if you have to rip back, your stitches are saved and easily picked up again.

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Demonstrating the lifeline – the white yarn is being thread through the green live stitches while on the needle. Once thread through all the way, the white yarn will ‘hold your place’ if you have to frog your work.,

Side story – we talked about lifelines at the Wednesday knitting circle I attend this past summer.  Bev, who has been knitting for decades, had never heard of this technique before, and she still talks about it!  If I am half as awesome as Bev is when I’m an octogenarian, it’ll be a win. She’s great.

After knitting 50 rows of section 3, and with 30% of my yarn remaining, I removed the needle and re-wound my yarn.  It’s both amazing and heartbreaking to see how quickly the yarn is re-wound.  Hours of work gone in less than three minutes.

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Left: Before frogging; right: after frogging. Thank you lifeline!

Stitches are picked up, but the lifeline is still in place. You never know.

J’adore Entrelac

From the first time I tried it, I fell in love with entrelac.  If you haven’t tried this technique yet, I ask why not?

First, what is it?  Entrelac is a technique in knitting where it looks as if the fabric is interlaced.  Appropriately, when translated from French, entrelac means interlaced.  It gives a lovely woven appearance, and it looks as if it’s more difficult than it actually is.  There are fantastic tutorials available on how to go about knitting this technique.

My simply lovely clutch
My simply lovely clutch

My first foray into entrelac came with the above clutch.  I decided to get fancy and use two different yarns for this project (as if learning a new technique wasn’t challenging enough).  It was also a perfect way to use up the last of my Red Heart Super Saver (first yarn I ever bought), and another yarn, which I just can’t remember where or when I bought it.  It knit up surprisingly fast, and a fast project is always satisfying.

Lovely yellow lining adds a pop of colour to the simply lovely clutch
Lovely yellow lining adds a pop of colour to the simply lovely clutch

The project called for the i-cord wristband, but I added the chained loops and buttons to act as a closure.  I also had ‘fun’ (fun used rather loosely), adding a fabric lining using a sewing machine.  Sewing machines and I don’t always see eye to eye.  We have a history.  This was a battle I won, and after a few trial and errors, the lining was added and it adds a fun pop of colour to the inside (and bonus, it is wide enough to fit my phone and a set of keys – only the important items).

I really wish I could have shared the link to this pattern, but when I went to add it, I discovered the link didn’t work.  It was a Seattle Yarn pattern.

I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed knitting a ‘garterlac’ washcloth for my sister, garterlac because it is made with the garter stitch.  Lots of knit stitches, no purls. That’s okay in my books.  The pattern I used was from Criminy Jickets, and like the clutch, it was a fast and satisfying project.  I would have loved to share a picture of this, but my sister’s inquisitive kitten decided the washcloth was hers to chew on.

I encourage you, find an entrelac pattern and give it a try!  Surprisingly simple, a fast fun knit.  Allons-y!